Trumpet Challenge Week 5.3

Today I have managed to bring up a third day of practice in a row. This might not seem like much to many people, especially considering that music is my career, however, finding the time to regularly work on a new instrument has been an incredibly difficult task. Any success in this I see as being progress, no matter how small.

Today I started focusing on the development of my range, particularly the higher notes in pitching them accurately when my lips are fatigue from the phrase. There’s a lot of work that I will need to do on this in the coming week, hopefully with consistency in practice I’ll be able to strengthen the lips and keep the correct embouchure to maximise the air flow and buzzing technique.

I might look into some advice from trumpeters that I know and even see what resources are on-line that may prove useful in improving this technique. I do have a strong feeling that all it is going to take is me spending more time on my instrument.

I am still working on the videos and getting the practice sessions up for people to view my progress. The teething problems are continuing due to me not wanting to upload them to YouTube. I am sure that I will eventually do this but I do want to wait until I have improved a little more so that viewers can see my improvement from beginner to “just after beginner phase”.

Trumpet Challenge Week 5.2

I have managed it! Consecutive days of practice (geez I love school holidays). Today’s session went really well. I still had some mismatched notes, but no where near as many as yesterday’s. I managed to get up to my C in the 4th space today in the book and whilst there are a number of issues around tone, intonation and consistency I feel that it is heading in right direction.

One area that I will start to focus on is the pitching of notes on the same valve. I am going to start trying to regularly incorporate a couple of minutes of moving between the notes as whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and ventrally eighth notes.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s session to see if the improvement can continue.

Trumpet Challenge Week 5.1

I’m another week into the challenge and this one I fell will prove quite interesting. I have had over a week of due to blisters on my lips, the first practice back after this was always going to be “interesting”. Who much form and ability would I have lost?

Considering I have only been working once a week in reality I wasn’t sure what the final effect would be. To my surprise the overall practice wen quite well. My cops really started to hurt by around the ten minute mark and I have had a lot of problems mis-pitching, especially the lower notes, towards the end of the practice.

I am hoping that these next two weeks will show some considerable improvement as I am in school holidays and I’m sure that there will be a lot more time to get practice in on a regular basis.

I am still recording all the session and working on finding a way to get these uploaded. As I type this I am uploading the first week’s efforts to the ftp server that I use, it seems to be a way around the 64MB limit. I do want to avoid putting these on YouTube for now, it would make it easier for em but I am still feeling quit self conscious about the way I am sounding…who know, another coulee of months and this might change!

Trumpet Challenge Week 4

The challenge continued to throw up some interesting problems to overcome, this week’s I have not experienced for over a year –  numerous blisters.

The additional playing and stress placed on my chops in the previous week due to the amount of time and also range playing in (mostly on the tenor in altissimo) has resulted in mu lips being totally split and blistered up. I decided that it would be best to rest my lips and give them time to heal rather than try to play through the pain. I have tried to do the play though thing before, and even this week had to for a Musical Rehearsal, but if I can rest a little then it the blisters pass a lot faster and I can get back into it. Plus, let’s be honest, no one really likes spitting blood continuously.

I am hoping that this approach of resting will serve me well and next week will be a fresh start. It will be the beginning of school holidays next Saturday, here’s to hoping that with this comes two weeks of more than once a week practice. I still have a lot that needs to get done both school wise and actually getting some time with the family, which I really am looking forward, so hopefully there’ll be a little amount more regularly thatch be spent on the trumpet and my more established instruments.

Come on lips, time to heal up quickly!!!

Trumpet Challenge Week 3

The difficulty of the challenge has continued throughout this last week, especially in finding regular time to practice my instrument.

This week proved even more difficult due to some of the other gigs I had scheduled on top of my usual school teaching commitments. I received a phone call from Timothy Nelson, from Timothy Nelson and the Infidels, to ask if I would be able to join a band that had been put together to play at the Roadshow Record Club, the album being “The Travelling Wilburys Vol. 1”. It was a great gig but it meant that the 2 days I had to prepare the solos, needed note for note, put everything else on the back burner.

Another downside to this is I blew my lips out from this gig, I now have some splits and blisters coming up…hopefully these won’t last too long.

All of that aside, I did manage to get my practice down on the Saturday, the same 20 minutes as I have managed to commit to. This week’s session was quite a but better than the previous ones. I’m putting this down to a lack of lip fatigue. My Saturday morning is my big private teaching day, usually I have played throughout lessons for 4 1/2 hours prior to doing the trumpet practice. Due to my split lip this week I did not really play during lessons, the difference in tone and clarity of notes was quite good.

I would like to think that I’ll be able to get some more done this week…I suppose only time will tell.

I am still trying to work on getting the videos up, I’m having some trouble uploading files as they are so big. With holidays coming up in a few weeks I should have the chance to maybe workout how I can do this effectively…as always, it seems everything comes down to that one precious word – TIME.

Trumpet Challenge Week 2

This challenge is proving difficult for me to find a regular routine and flow of momentum regarding regular practice. The business of my teaching schedule at school when combined with my private teaching, practice on other instruments and then (somewhere in there) some family time is not leaving a lot of room for trumpet playing.

I have found that my range and consistency of notes has improved a little (despite the lack of practice). I am comfortably hitting from my Low A (beneath the staff) to my high A (one octave in total). I can play my Bb, B and C above this but not comfortably every single time. I am still finding that there’s a lot of mis-pitched notes which hopefully my dedication to long notes will assist in correcting.

My students at school know that I’m undertaking this challenge, they’re already asking for em to bring the trumpet in so that they can see my improvement / how far I’ve gotten. I think I might hold off on this until after the school holidays, this should give me enough time to get a little more confident!

My videos of the once a week practice are proving a little difficult to upload! As soon as I have worked out the bugs I’l get them attached to each post for people to have a listen to…hopefully the improvement will be heard in my playing!

Trumpet Challenge – Week One An Overview

One of my goals for this year to learn the basic trumpet. I’m not a brass player, I have no desire to move into being able to perform brass instruments at a professional (or even super high) standard. My intention behind setting this goal for 2017 is linked to my role as an ensemble director and educator.

I direct a number of ensembles at the school I currently work at, two of these are middle school ensembles that have brass players as members (a Concert Band and Jazz Big Band). I want to grow in understanding of brass instruments (fingerings and technique) to assist them in both their individual and ensemble musicianship development and I feel that one of the best ways to have more knowledge on the instruments.

I am hoping to try to practise my trumpet for 10 to 15 minutes, 5 days a week. This is the requirements that I place on my beginner students so it seems only fair that I try to apply the same principle to my own development!

I will be recording my sessions and posting the videos in post updates. It is going to be quite confronting for me to do this but my hope is that this will keep me accountable as well as show, over time, an improvement in my ability (if I do actually do the practise required).

If any trumpeters or band directors have any advice to give me in how to improvement please feel free to comment. I would ask that all comments are kept positive, after all my aim is to grow as a musician and educator rather than trying to showcase my ability on the trumpet…I know it’s very average at best!


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